Vietnam Travel Guide

Vietnam is an incredible country and one of Asia’s real gems. It is very affordable and perfect for female solo travelers. Aside from an incredible landscape, friendly people and amazing food, that country offers an interesting history and fantastic architecture.

I have to admit that Vietnam wasn’t high on my travel list before my 2019 trip there. But I am incredibly grateful that a change of plans ended up with me extending my time there to 15 days.

After getting to know the country, I can only say that the entire country is incredible. It is diverse and unique. North, Central and South Vietnam all have their own charm and are vastly different. It is a country full of hidden gems.

Chances are that you will love one part more than the others, but in the end it is impossible not to fall in love with Vietnam. It is on my personal top 5 list and I hope to return there soon.

Vietnam shape

Highlight

Places to see in Vietnam

  • Ha Long Bay / Lan Ha Bay
  • Hoi An Ancient City
  • Hue
  • Hanoi
  • Ho Chi Minh / Saigon
  • Da Nang
  • Phu Quoc Island
  • Cat Ba Island
  • Ninh Binh / Trang An

Things to know before you visit Vietnam

Travel Budget

Language

The official language is Vietnamese.

Around half of the population of Vietnam is able to speak with a higher percentage amongst the younger population and in touristic areas. In rural areas you might need a translation app.

Try to learn some simple Vietnamese phrases before or while you explore Vietnam.

Currency

The currency is Vietnamese Dong.

In June 2021 the exchange rate was as follows: 100.000 VND equals 3.65 euro, 3.15 GBP, 4.35 USD, or 5.81 AUD.

Credit Cards & ATMs

There are many ATMs in the big cities, so you won’t encounter any issues. However, you might have to search a little longer in more remote places.

Plugs

Type A, C and F (Voltage 220V; Frequency 50Hz)

Visa

Citizens of 24 countries qualify for a visa exemption of a varying length. Additionally, nationals of 80 countries can get an E-visa, which is valid for 30 days. This visa costs 25 USD.

You can check if you qualify for one of the two on this page about the Vietnam Visa Requirements. Otherwise, you will have to obtain a visa at a local Vietnamese embassy.

It is possible to obtain a visa on arrival, but I do not recommend it as it is usually the most expensive option.

Off-the-beaten-track

Safety

Vietnam is a rather safe destination for solo female travelers and backpackers as there are very few violent crimes, but there are some things to watch out for. There are some scams like the ‘free’ shoe cleaning scam that commonly occur in the bigger cities like Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, and Nha Trang. Additionally, there are some cases of drive-by snatching so store your valuables while strolling through the cities.

The streets of the cities are incredibly busy, so driving there is not for the faint of heart or those without prior scooter experience. Be quick when crossing streets and keep looking left and right as you walk. Check the price in advance to ensure that you are not overcharged when taking a taxi. I recommend using grab as the app shows you the price in advance and the rides are usually less expensive than a taxi.

Mind warnings about undetonated explosives. Many more remote areas have yet to be cleared of landmines, so do everyone a favor and stay on the path when exploring rural areas.

Avoid drinking tap water. Additionally, it is advised to use insect repellent and sunscreen. At times there is a lot of air pollution, so check the air quality if you are sensitive to it. Some areas, like the Mekong Delta, have a higher Dengue fever and malaria risk.

Vietnam is a communist country, so do not take photos of the military and avoid political debates. Stay away from drugs as punishment for drug offenses is severe.

When to visit Vietnam

With its temperate to tropical climate, Vietnam is a great destination year-round. However, the weather varies by region. Therefore only the months of September to December and March to April are great if you want to explore the entire country.

In northern Vietnam, August to December tend to be warmer and there is less fog. December and January tend to paint the landscapes white. The monsoon season is from May to October. Therefore, the dry season from November to April is the best time to explore the northern regions.

If you want to explore Central Vietnam, it is best to avoid the wet typhoon season from September to November. February to mid-August are the best months, but July and August tend to be very hot.

While the rain season of the south is from May to October, it is a great destination throughout the year. Avoid March, April and May if you do not like very warm and humid climates.

Vietnam Travel Guides

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